Lakou Lakay

Just the other day, I spent a good hour revisiting our garden, something I had neglected to do in a while. It then dawned on me how lucky I am to live in the mountains where I can enjoy simple life pleasures like sitting outside and being surrounded by greenery, watching the view thanks to the fact that we overlook the Port-au-Prince bay or, even better, handpick a fruit for my freshly squeezed morning juice or my daily fruit serving.

Indeed, one of the beauties of living in the mountains of Haiti is that our soil is so fertile that we can grow a wide variety of crops. In Fermathe and the surrounding higher altitudes, planted gardens are commonplace. The area’s abitan are gardeners who grow vegetables that they sell in the public market on Tuesdays and Fridays. We actually drive through that market which so happens to be on both sides of the road that leads home.

On our own property, we have, throughout the years, grown our own vegetables and, most recently, have turned that garden into an orchard where we grow more fruits than we can count, though that’s not always obvious to our visitors who are always amazed when we list our fruit trees.

I myself got greatly surprised the other day as I tried to make a headcount of our yearly harvest. I have compiled the following list:

Citrus fruits including oranges (more varieties than we’ve been able to clearly identify), grapefruit, chadeques, mandarines; peaches, plums, rezen, plantains, coffee, apples, figs, lokwat, guava, sugarcane, malanga, parsley, pepino, avocado, mirliton; aromatic plants: citronnela, melisse, ti bonm (peppermint)…

In the past we’ve also grown potatoes, a harvest that upgraded my fourteen-year-old palate to more than just fries. And we are now trying to get our piment bouc back.

Hopefully I didn’t miss much. If I did leave something out, rest assured that you will discover each and every single one of them in the blog’s new column: Lakou Lakay. I decided to devote a special category to our homegrown produce to highlight our atypical produce and help you better understand our rich soil and how we can successfully grow produce that are not typical of our soil like the apples mentioned above.

My hope is that you will vicariously enjoy Haiti’s orchards through the blog.

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  • Bea

    Thank you for sharing your Lakou Lakay article. I left Haiti at a very young age. I found your article very moving. Looking at the diverse fruits and vegetables tree in your lakou truly impressed me and gave me nostalgie. I lived in Turgeau closed to Canape Vert. I remember the tall avocado, guava, cerise, mango, cotton, almond, and breadfruit trees in addition with pied cocoye and palmiste we had in our yard. Though, I was young and everything looked so tall, but I remember trying to jump to get to the cerise or trying to get on top of bricks to reach for a guava. Reading your article making me re-living those days. Thank you so much for sharing… Stay bless!

    • annick

      Thank you for reading! it’s amazing how lucky we are to have this experience, no matter how short-lived, isn’t it? we all definitely have a childhood story linked to climbing on stuff to reach to fruits, the true beauty of our beloved Haiti 🙂

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